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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Memory movie review: Liam Neeson film astounds you with its laziness

Memory movie review: The film meanders in the middle, not knowing what to do with its actors, or its story of bad men and vulnerable immigrant girls.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5
Written by Shalini Langer | New Delhi |
Updated: April 29, 2022 5:33:15 pm
memory movie reviewLiam Neeson plays the lead role in Memory.

Memory movie director: Martin Campbell
Memory movie cast: Liam Neeson, Monica Bellucci, Guy Pearce, Taj Atwal
Memory movie rating: 1.5 stars

Liam Neeson has played so many versions of this cynical, ageing (but never aged) assassin that memory perhaps is not what he needs to get it right. And it is not – despite the entire premise for this film being that Alex Lewis (Neeson) is an assassin with a difference, for being an assassin with Alzheimer’s.

Once we have that established, rest is all a frame that can be filled anyhow. This time it is with a Mexican human smuggling racket, whose roots run deep and high – deep the film has no compunction plunging, high it has no ambition reaching. So, it meanders somewhere in the middle, not knowing what to do with its many different actors of varying charm and screen presence (Pearce in curiously lanky, oily hair; Bellucci in suitably generic glamour), or its story of bad men and vulnerable immigrant girls, except to come looping around to Neeson.

With Alzheimer’s catching on, we are told Lewis wants out of this assassin business, but obviously can’t, and hence finds himself dragged into a contract to kill, back in his home town El Paso in Texas. But for the frisson of the El Paso name and the Mexican proximity, it would be incongruous to place Neeson, or for that matter, Bellucci, playing a real estate mogul with full Italian lisp, in this Texan outpost. Even if you are willing to forget that, Memory just astounds you with its laziness in all the other aspects of filming as well.

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There is talk of truth, justice, big money, networks, mafia etc, but all that Campbell of Casino Royale fame is interested in is riding on Neeson’s reputation. A crazy amount of time is spent on one bullet wound he sustains, for example, down to Pearce’s FBI agent examining the gauze with blood closely.

What the film is suggesting is a scandal on an astounding scale. A processing centre for illegal Mexican immigrants, built with big money, being misused to meet the base needs of those behind it. Those faces behind bars are not easily forgotten; the many dead bodies Lewis leaves behind are not easy to remember.

Now that’s the problem with memory, it plays tricks.

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